The Jim Henson Company to Debut Live-Action Pre-School Series Hi Opie! at MIP Junior and MIPCOM, for Series and Format Sales

Hollywood, CA (September 8, 2014) — The Jim Henson Company, a leader in family entertainment for over fifty years, will unveil for the first time at MIP Junior and MIPCOM the new live-action pre-school series, Hi Opie!  Produced by marblemedia, in association with The Jim Henson Company, the property is being presented as both a finished English language series (13×30’ or 39×7’) and as an international format. Hi Opie! was developed with TVO and produced in partnership with TVO, City Saskatchewan (Rogers Broadcasting Limited) and Knowledge Network.

Designed for preschoolers, the series stars five-year-old Opie—a puppet custom-built by the experts atJim Henson’s Creature Shop.  Opie and his real kid classmates are in their first year of kindergarten—uncertain of what to expect.  With each new day, Opie learns more about himself, his friends and his teachers. Each story marks a new chapter in Opie’s personal growth as he participates in, struggles with and inevitably succeeds in kindergarten activities. With the guidance of their teacher, the kids in the TV classroom and at home learn through play—having fun, asking questions, imagining and continuing to be curious.  The series premiered on September 1, 2014 on TVO, City Saskatchewan and Knowledge Network.

“By taking ‘Hi Opie!’ into television homes around the world, we are helping to prepare children for school as well as the everyday issues they may encounter,” commented Richard Goldsmith, EVP, Global Distribution and International Consumer Products at The Jim Henson Company, about the unique television series. “Many of our television and digital platform partners are looking for a cost-effective format that can be locally produced and still feature an exceptional and beloved Henson puppet, and we look forward to helping children everywhere to learn and play with Opie.”

Hi Opie! was a natural collaboration for marblemedia, The Jim Henson Company and our development partner TVO,” said Mark Bishop, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia. “With marblemedia’s reputation for creating live-action kids properties, The Jim Henson Company’s talent for creating iconic puppet characters and TVO’s commitment to giving early learners the tools to succeed in school, preschoolers and their parents will be drawn to this inspirational, educational and timeless series.”

The Jim Henson Company will oversee all television, DVD, digital distribution and format rights (other than in Canada, France and Australia, which will be handled by Distribution360, a marblemedia company), as well as all consumer products rights worldwide

marblemedia will launch an extensive interactive component in September at hiopie.com. The online content, hosted by Opie himself, will reinforce the core messages of the brand by offering kids meaningful interactive stories, explanatory environments, as well as activities and games that entertain and deliver important educational takeaways. The website will be available for international licensing.

Hi Opie! is Executive Produced by marblemedia’s Marc Bishop and Matt Hornburg, along with creator and Co-Executive Producer Barbara Slade (Angelina Ballerina and Rugrats).  Halle Stanford is the Executive Producer for The Jim Henson Company.  Lawrence S. Mirkin (Fraggle Rock) is the Series Producer; Kate Barris (Max & Ruby, Captain Flamingo) is the Executive Story Editor; Lowell Dean of LoloFilm Productions Inc. is Producer/Director; and Phil McCordic is the Series Director.  Hi Opie! was developed with TVO and produced in partnership with TVO, City Saskatchewan (Rogers Broadcasting Limited) and Knowledge Network.

For more information and updates, follow @HiOpie_TV or “like” Hi Opie! on Facebook.com/HiOpie.TV and join the conversation with the hashtag #HiOpie.

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. Honoured with Playback’s Outstanding Achievement Award (2013) and named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by Playback, marble has won a Canadian Screen Award, two Gemini Awards, has been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer by The Hollywood Reporter. With over 250 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, notable projects include: the live-action preschool series Hi Opie!; the comedic Japanese game show Japanizi: Going, Going, Gong!; the award-winning hit preschool series This is Daniel Cook and This is Emily Yeung; and the physical game show Splatalot. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001 and owns a 50-acre production ranch in addition to operating a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff, and an L.A. office.www.marblemedia.com.

The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Pajanimals as well as the new series Doozers, a CG animated preschool series. Features include The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, MirrorMask, and the upcoming Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, and television productions include Fraggle Rock the sci-fi cult series Farscape, and the reality competition Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities, the Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring “Puppet-Up! – Uncensored,” a live puppet improvisational show. www.henson.com.

TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

City™ television stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Saskatchewan offer viewers intensely-local, urban-oriented, culturally-diverse television programming. A distinct alternative to other conventional television stations, City engages its viewers with dynamic on-air personalities and delivers an entertaining mix of news, local-interactive formats such as: Breakfast Television and Cityline; as well as local Canadian and US acquired prime time entertainment programming. City is a part of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, a division of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI and NYSE: RCI), which is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. For more information on City stations and programming, visit Citytv.com.

Media Contacts:  Michelle Orsi/Carol Holdsworth | 360 Marketing Communications | 1.310.418.6430/1.805.252.1848 | michelle@360-comm.com or carol@360-comm.com

Stephan Petar | marblemedia and Distribution360 | +1 416.646.2711 | stephan-petar@marblemedia.com

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